A Q&A with Steve Smith, Executive Director of Content at Sky Sports
As we round off 2023 and look towards 2024, Executive Director of Content at Sky Sports, Steve Smith has given us an exclusive Q&A, talking about the content our customers have enjoyed this year, and what is to come in 2024.
2024 is going to be a great year for pubs and bars with even more content to enjoy. Get your customers excited and make your pub/bar the venue to be by kicking off January with great Premier League clashes, the Carabao Cup semi-final and final, the NFL Super Bowl in February and the F1 restart in March!
It has been a great year of sport in 2023, what has been your highlight that Sky have shown?
It’s been a fantastic year for sports on Sky and we’ve been breaking viewing records across a multitude of our sports, but it was a particularly thrilling summer of sport. The Men’s & Women’s Ashes broke records across all the formats even though England ultimately couldn’t regain either. England Women’s Test saw a rise of almost 400% in comparison with the 2019 Test, while the T20 series was up 135%. Then late in the summer we had the right results for Europe in both the Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup where we retained and regained the respective trophies, again watched by record audiences on Sky Sports. The 23/24 football season has also started extremely strongly. For example, the opening weekend of the Championship became the most watched opening weekend on Sky Sports ever, with an average of 631,000 viewers across all four matches, up 77% compared to last season.
Sky Sports offers such a breadth of sport, can you tell us more about the NFL and why we should tune in?
The NFL is often described as the greatest show on turf and the superstars that take the field once a week from September through to the Super Bowl in early February put on a show in every game. Patrick Mahomes is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history and he led the Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl title last February in a match up against Jalen Hurt’s Philadelphia Eagles. The draft system that allows the worst performing team in the NFL to have the first choice of the talent coming out of the US College system, means that each year the competition gets even more intense. Last season had a record number of games that were settled by less than a single score. The tension continues to keep fans on the edge of their seats!
We had the Greatest Return in Tennis this year, can you tell us more about our tennis offerings on Sky Sports?
The US Open returned to Sky Sports with record audiences and from our new state of the art studio. Combining huge screens with the latest in AR & VR technology, Sky Sports were able to put the best analysis tools in the hands of Tim Henman and Martina Navratilova bringing new insights to our growing audiences. Our additional studio position at Flushing Meadow also allowed our viewers to hear directly from the players making the headlines throughout the fortnight at the US Open. 2024 will have even more tennis across our channels before the US Open returns in September.
We have Christmas quickly approaching us, what highlights does Sky Sports have coming up to keep us in the festive mood?
Christmas is synonymous with two things across Sky Sports. As usual, we’ll see Festive Football across a packed Premier League, EFL, WSL and SPFL program throughout December. The iconic PDC Darts World Championship from Alexandra Palace runs over 17 days across Christmas and the New Year. Fancy dress and Christmas spirit is often part of both the fans experience at the event and in our coverage.
Can you tell us what content you have coming up in 2024, and what you are most excited about?
2024 is going to be the year of more of the content our customers love. There will be more Tennis for our customers and a huge increase of over 800 more games in the EFL following a new rights agreement signed earlier this year. Alongside another season of Premier League, a competitive WSL, the conclusion of the SPFL, Max Verstappen coming back to try and make it four F1 Driver’s Championship in a row, another summer filled with Men’s & Women’s England Cricket, international Rugby Union and all the golf Majors, you can guarantee another compelling year for all our Sky Sports customers. Enjoy!
A Q&A with Steve Smith, Executive Director, Content, Sky Sports at Sky
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